Are Pharmacy Technicians in Demand?
As you explore options for your career, one main deciding factor usually is, “Is this profession in demand?” With the growing need for healthcare services for the aging population as they face higher rates of chronic diseases, you’ll see an increasing demand for prescription medications and therefore the people who supply them.
If you are interested in learning more about what a pharmacy technician does, visit our Pharmacy Technology certificate program page, download the Pharmacy Technology program brochure, and read the program course descriptions in the most recent SJVC college catalog.
Now, to answer your question, “Are pharmacy technicians in demand?” the short answer is yes. The long answer is, not only are they growing in demand, but their responsibilities are changing as the healthcare industry changes.
Why are Pharmacy Technicians in Demand?
With an aging population and increasing rates of chronic diseases, the job outlook for health care occupations from 2018 through 2028 is excellent. Healthcare-related jobs are expected to grow at a faster than average rate for all professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” and the BLS estimates that pharmacy technician jobs will increase by 7% from 2018 through 2028.
There are many reasons why pharmacy technician jobs are expected to increase, according to the BLS:
- The population is aging, and older people typically use more prescription medicines than younger people.
- Advances in pharmaceutical research result in more prescription medications to fight diseases.
- Pharmacists are performing more clinical roles, such as administering flu shots, which means pharmacy technicians will be needed to perform more administrative tasks.
Where are Pharmacy Technicians Employed the Most?
In May 2019, the five states with the highest levels of employment in this profession are, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- New York
Where do Pharmacy Technicians Work?
The majority of pharmacy technicians work where you’d expect — drug stores and pharmacies. They also work in other healthcare and retail settings (source: BLS.gov):
- Pharmacies and drug stores 52%
- Hospitals 17%
- Food and beverage stores 8%
Most of us have visited retail pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS, but there are other types of companies that make and dispense medications, such as compounding pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
How Have Pharmacy Technician Roles Expanded?
This is where the pharmacy technician career gets interesting. When you look at the way the role of both pharmacist and pharmacy technician have evolved in recent years, you see a demand for more hard skills.
Pharmacy Today, the official publication of the American Pharmacists Association, documented in 2018 how several states have expanded what pharmacy technicians can do. In some cases, additional education and licensing or certification is required. For example:
- California in 2007 passed a pharmacy tech-check-tech law, which allows general acute care hospitals to employ specially trained pharmacy technicians to check medication cassettes and the work of other technicians
- In Idaho, pharmacy technicians can perform accuracy checks of other pharmacy technicians and student pharmacists.
- Iowa allows for “checking” technicians, which is a certification that allows pharmacy technicians to verify prescriptions.
- Ohio’s administrative code allows certified pharmacy technicians to accept new prescriptions from doctors and their offices.
Are You Ready to Start Your Training to Become a Pharmacy Technician?
Learn more about the Pharmacy Technology certificate program at SJVC and explore more healthcare jobs in California that typically don’t require a four-year degree.
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